Passports are the number one must have of any traveler. It’s your world ID card. It lets people know who you are, and where you are from. But it takes time. The average passport takes at least 6 weeks to arrive. That’s from the time of turning in your application, and them getting it mailed off to it actually arriving in your mailbox.
After the first go round, it’s much easier to renew it and it stays valid for 10 years at a time. So why not get it now? You might not even be thinking that you will ever travel abroad, but wouldn’t you rather just be prepared than have to go through the whole headache of getting one when you do decide to take a trip. Having one might even spur you to go ahead and book that trip!
What do I have to do?
- Go to your local post office or print out the form at home and fill it out. If it’s a big city, they might have only certain post offices that handle the applications, but all of them should at least have the application form that you need. Head to this website if you want to print out the form at home. https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html
- Get a photograph of your beautiful face! You can go to CVS or Walgreen’s, or whatever your local photo processing center might be called. The photos are surprisingly expensive. I think something like $15 each, which is ridiculous. Now that we are in Taiwan, they have photo booths that we can use to print out 8 passport photos for $3.
Photo tips if the photographer doesn’t give you a heads up.
- Don’t smile.
- Wear a colored shirt. Applicants can be denied because their white or light colored shirt blended in with the background.
- Look straight ahead.
- More photo information on travel.state.gov.
How much is it?
First time applications are $135 and normal delivery takes around 6 weeks. Expedited delivery will add another $60 to your total, but will only take 3 weeks to arrive. There are also passport agencies where you can get it delivered in as little as 8 days, but I don’t even want to know what those would cost.
If you follow this advice I’m giving you, the expedited fee won’t be necessary. Get the passport before you ever even need it. Then you’re all set for anything that comes your way. Whether it’s a destination wedding you were invited to, or just an unplanned trip overseas with your best friend.
How was getting your passport? Did you find our tips helpful? Is there anything you would add? Drop us a line in the comments below.